VA renegotiates electronic health records deal with Oracle Cerner

The VA said Thursday that the Department of Veterans Affairs has renegotiated its agreement with Oracle Kerner to hold the electronic health records company more accountable.

The new contract has been restructured from a single, five-year term into five, individual one-year terms, Dr. Neil Evans, acting director of the VA’s Electronic Health Records Modernization Integration Office, said in an email. Evans said the new agreement “dramatically enhances the VA’s ability to hold Oracle Kerner accountable in a variety of key areas.”

Performance metrics and expectations for Oracle Kerner to reduce system outages in the contract, respond to physician requests, share patient data with private-sector hospitals, and interface the EHR with the VA’s website, mobile apps, and other applications Are included. In total, the contract covers 28 metrics, the VA said.

With the one-year terms, Evans said the VA would have an opportunity to review the seller’s progress and potentially renegotiate in a year. He said the system has not yet been distributed to veterans or VA physicians.

before it was bought Oracle for $28.4 billion in June 2022Kansas City-based Cerner won a $10 billion VA EHR modernization contract in May 2018. The original contract had a five-year base with an option for another five years.

This project has had its fair share of challenges. On April 7, the VA announced it would stop implementing Oracle Cerner’s EHR at its Saginaw Health Care System, an 81-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitation community living center in Saginaw, Michigan. The VA said the system was not ready for deployment. On April 21, the VA halted future deployment of EHRs at all VA medical centers to resolve problems at five sites using the software.

The rollout of the EHR was delayed twice in 2020, to November 2022, along with technical and operational issues. In November 2021, a government watchdog flagged issues with Cerner’s scheduling platform and released a separate report in July 2022 that linked the system to six serious harm incidents at VA hospitals.

Oracle Kerner declined to make an executive available for an interview, but provided a brief statement saying the new agreement reflects the company’s commitment to veterans healthcare.

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